Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Your First Step to Get God Back in Your Public School

According to this LA Times Article, this is what graces the front page of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools.

The debate has been going on for a while as to whether or not courses on the Bible should be allowed in public schools. Many people view any attempt at getting a Biblical studies program in school as a state endorsement of Christianity in violation of the First Amendment. Others view it as a necessary step to provide Biblical education to flesh out a student's education. Still others view it as their duty to ensure that our nation doesn't get swept from this planet by the rule of godless heathens (the ACLU), who will stop at anything to kill religion in every way, shape, or form.

I don't have an issue with a comparative religions class in public schools, and think that philosophically, it is a good idea. I also don't have an issue with a biblical history class, with some caveats, such as a requirement that it remain secular, that it be a true elective (i.e. nobody will feel compelled to enroll), and that it not promote any one denomination's view on Christianity. I think, given the extreme difficulty over the years in trying to come up with a program like that, system wherein the Bible is not taught in public schools, leaving the religious decisions up to the parents, is the best policy.

However, I recognize many view any attempt to keep public schools a venue for ALL Americans to learn without feeling unduly coerced to participate in a religious mantra of which they do not adhere as an assault on Christianity, and by extension, an assault on that individual. I think this is narrow minded and faulty logic, and I think the subterfuge involved by Fundamentalist Christians runs afoul of what they claim to believe.

One friend of mine stated it best, and though I can't remember quite how he said it, it went something like this (I'm going to write this as best I can). Fundamentalist Christians have gone to a point where they have denied not only their intent, but have out and out lied, and diminished what they claim to believe because of this cause. They want the Bible and God brought back in public schools so everyone can receive their Christian education, but in doing so, embrace theories that detract from the omnipotence of God and the righteousness of their beliefs. They claim that courses such as Intelligent Design allow for "something, not necessarily God" that puts everything together. But that's not what they believe. Yet, for their desires, they will pitch it as anything just to potentially sell it. They abandon their beliefs for a short term gain, and that's wrong.

I know he can restate it better than I did, so if you come on here, go ahead and restate what I'm trying to say. It was very good, and something many people probably haven't considered. Certainly not the folks in Odessa, who sent an e-mail celebrating when they got the Bible course in school: "take that, you dang heathens!"

Check out the article, good writing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it was something like this (and I'm paraphrasing, because I was in the midst of pre-bar exam stress and jonsing for Starbucks when I said it):

It is a rather disingenous arguement that fundamentalist Christians - those that believe Jesus is the only path to heaven and all the other paths lead to you-know-where - will, in an attempt to keep the ten commandments on the Court's steps or prayer in school et cetera, deny the ideals they hold most dear. They defame their own personal faith when they say "the ten commandments are just a historically significant moral code." Or, "we'll just call the morning prayer a 'moment of silence' and the students can pray to whom ever they choose."

I am a person of faith, and that faith is a central part of my existence. It is in the core of who I am. Yet I am not so willing to deny the spiritual significance of my Christian faith just to pacify those who choose to disagree.

However, for me, this is not much of an issue for three reasons:
1. I don't think God finds much pleasure in hearing a coerced acknowledgment of His existence (i.e. "One State, Under God). See Matt 23:23-33 (Jesus reprimanding religious leaders who upheld the letter of the law, but neglected the spirit of the law).
2. I don't think coerced or compelled religion in school is consistent with the teaching of Jesus. See Luke 6:31 (golden rule); see also Romans 12:18 ("If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men").
3. There is this little document call the Constitution of the United States of America. The prohibition regarding intermeddling of church and state - the First Amendment - was as much to protect the state as it was the church (i.e. no more state-sponsored religion or pope as de facto political leader).

The bottom line: If you want your children to be educated regarding religion, send then to private parochial schools, send them to church, or gee, maybe consider teaching them yourselves. (A novel idea, I know).